Alien Saga - Documentary

Simon Massey

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Did anyone see the new documentary on the Alien saga tonight on Channel 4 (UK), with Mark Kermode
It was really well put together, similar to the ones he did on the Exorcist and the Shawshank Redemption. It was nice to see Sigourney Weaver commenting on each film as well, and the interviews look very recent(except James Cameron). They was also some frank discussion about the problems with Alien 3 - seems that Fincher should take a lot of credit for actually coming out with a coherent story judging by the comments made about the studio's interference. Charles Dance said that Fincher's cut was absolutely brilliant and then the studio just butchered it and made it "OK".
I'd love to see this cut of the film in the future, given that I actually quite like Alien 3 anyway.
These documentaries are really well done, and I hope Kermode does a few more in the future.
 

Brad_W

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As much as I LOVE these movies, I can't help but feel a bit of contempt for how Alien Resurection decided not to give H.R. Giger any credit. He was pissed and his fans were pissed. Big Giger fans began calling the movie, "Alien Insurrection." Remember, Fox refused to give Giger his credit. I think that really sucks. For an artist that inspired such a fantastic movie legacy, you think that they would set up his credit. I am wondering if any of this or any real reference was made about H.R. Giger on this show?
Thanks,
-Brad
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Alister Willis

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I managed to catch the last 40 minutes of the documentary, pretty much missing any discussion of Alien and Aliens...wish I'd known it was on.
From what I did see, I thought it looked like an excellent documentary. Good mixture of interviews from cast members (and directors) from the 4 films.
As Simon said, it was interesting to hear Charles Dance's comments about Finchers cut. Wonder if we'll ever see a director's cut of Alien ^3?
Woody.
 

Dan Brecher

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As much as I find it hard to stomach Kermode as a presenter, I do commend the documentaries he has written and produced, the Alien documentary last night was decent.
As for ever seeing Fincher's cut of Aliens 3, it's been much discussed on the HTF, fox have no plans, allegedly much of the deleted footage was destroyed and Fincher himself has said it was such a bad experience he's no wish to re-visit the movie... Shame.
Dan (UK)
 

Simon Massey

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They interviewed Giger on this documentary as well, and he mentioned how the design of the alien had evolved over time from his original concept. He didn't comment on Alien Resurrection.
 

Simon Massey

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Brad
Having watched the documentary again, Giger actually said that he felt that alien concept had developed from a beautiful thing in his original design to "a piece of turd".
I don't know much about Giger's involvement in the fourth one, but it sounds to me like he didn't have much input. Having said that, he may simply have been referring to the newborn creature in the fourth film rather than the alien itself.
 

Guy Martin

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Giger didn't design the aliens for Resurrection and was not involved at all. After he protested though they did restore his "original alien design by" credit for all the video versions. Stan Winston designed the aliens for Aliens and I've seen an interview with Giger where he said he didn't particularly mind what Winston did. On the other hand Giger does have a pretty legitimate beef regarding Alien 3. Apparently he did a bunch of pre-production work before Alec Gillis and Tom Woodruf (protege's of Winston) took over, but he still only got "orginal alien design by" credit and was quite miffed. Gillis and Woodruf also did the creature effects of Resurrection. Incidentally they were assisted on 3 by future Blade director Stephen Norrington for those into trivia.
- Guy
 

Brad_W

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This was taken directly from the official H.R. Giger website:
"ALIEN INSURRECTION is the public reaction to 20th Century Fox's decision to omit credit to H.R.Giger for his design as they appeared in the film ALIEN:RESURRECTION. The film featured Giger's original designs for the four stages of the title creature's lifecycle, the Eggs, Facehugger, Chestburster and the Adult Alien unchanged from their first appearance in Ridley Scott's ALIEN, the 1979 film for which H.R.Giger received the Academy Award for "Best Achievment for Visual Effects" for the very same design of the film's alien lifeforms and their related environment. The attempt to disassociate the artist from his own creations and to deprive him of the recognition and fruits of his labor unleashed an expression of outrage and moral indignation from Alien and Giger fans alike. The official H.R.Giger WebSite is the place where they raised their collective voices in cyberspace seeking to protect the aesthetic beauty of the horror known as ALIEN and to acknowledge and reaffirm the name of its creator, H.R.Giger."
I thought I would include this to express my distaste for this stuff. Even if the credit has changed with any present or future release it is still (biblically?) wrong for any company to not give immediate (original release) credit for any artist especially one of the greatest modern artists of our time.
anyway, I wish I could've seen that documentary. I love the alien saga/legacy.
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"I was born to murder the world." -Nix (Lord of Illusions)
My Home Page http://www.geocities.com/masternix/DVD.html
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SteveGon

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Maybe we can expect a dvd release of this? Hope so!

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He thought on homeland, the big timber, the air thin and chill all the year long. Tulip poplars so big through the trunk they put you in mind of locomotives set on end. He thought of getting home and building him a cabin on Cold Mountain so high that not a soul but the nighthawks passing across the clouds in autumn could hear his sad cry. Of living a life so quiet he would not need ears. And if Ada would go with him, there might be the hope, so far off in the distance he did not even really see it, that in time his despair might be honed off to a point so fine and thin that it would be nearly the same as vanishing.
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Kevin H. Martin

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I understand the point being made about giving credit where it is due (and it isn't like anybody has ever accused this guy of ripping his alien off from another artist's work), but it is pretty standard to screw people out of credit. Do you see any acknowledgement in STAR TREK II about Cary Wilbur, the guy who invented KHAN for the TV episode that introduced the character? Or Gene Coon, the guy who produced that episode and almost surely rewrote most of it?
I think Writer's Guild rules have changed now, and the creators of a character do have to get credit and payment when it is reused, but for artists in other parts of the business may or may not have access to a union or guild to protect them. As a result, stuff goes uncredited.
Sometimes it is a legal matter. Every James Bond movie has the credit 'james bond theme written by monty norman,' even though the guy didn't write the tune (he was credited with scoring the whole first film, but in fact the bond theme was a John Barry piece -- norman's name on that first film has guaranteed him a place on the rest, even though it ain't his music! If you can find Barry's pre-soundtrack music, there's a piece called Bea's Knees that IS the bond theme, instrumentally speaking)
I always wondered if James Horner got any money for his BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS music getting reused in SPACE RAIDERS (or if the Skotak Bros got any money for their FX shots from BATTLE getting reused in the same movie). Then again, enough folks think Horner should be paying royalties for 'sampling' other composers, including himself (try listening to or watching Horner-scored films 48HRS, RED HEAT, COMMANDO and GORKY PARK -- the action/pursuit cues are exactly the same in each, with only slight changes in orchestration). I can't watch UNCOMMON VALOR without thinking that someone is stealing the Enterprise out of spacedock, for the same reason (more horner stuff).
how's that for a massive digression?
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Guy Martin

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Kevin-
Sometimes it is a legal matter. Every James Bond movie has the credit 'james bond theme written by monty norman,' even though the guy didn't write the tune (he was credited with scoring the whole first film, but in fact the bond theme was a John Barry piece -- norman's name on that first film has guaranteed him a place on the rest, even though it ain't his music! If you can find Barry's pre-soundtrack music, there's a piece called Bea's Knees that IS the bond theme, instrumentally speaking)
Actually recently a British judge handed down a libel judgement against Barry for making such a claim. Apparently after reviewing all the evidence the judge concluded that Norman _did_ write the now-classic theme. This all happened about six months ago and apparently stemmed from Barry making some statements to that effect in an interview which got Norman quite upset.
- Guy
 

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